The Villages Voice - August 2020

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Evolution of The Villages Public Safety Department

by Richard Baier

Evolution of The Villages Public Safety Department

Richard Baier, P.E., LEED AP, District Manager

In 1998 fire protection for the over 15,000 residents of The Villages was divided between Lake County Fire Rescue from a single station in Lady Lake and Sumter County/Oxford Volunteer Fire Department. A transport paramedic unit was provided by Lake Sumter EMS located in Lady Lake. Backup assistance responded from distant points in Lake and Sumter Counties. It was during this time that The Village Center Community Development District (VCCDD) introduced a “Proposal for Improved Public Safety” to provide full-time fire protection services to the growing community and rapidly increasing population, with the ultimate goal of reducing response times to emergency calls for service and standardizing the level of response within The Villages. On October 6, 1998, the VCCDD Board of Supervisors held a special meeting for consideration and approval of the proposal for improved public safety, and with a unanimous vote, the Board authorized staff to move forward with the proposal. The Villages Public Safety Department (VPSD) was formed! The VPSD has transformed and grown with our community over the past two decades and has gone from a rural community department to an urban community and an urban fire department, with a service area that covers approximately 90 square miles, employees 123 firefighters operating out of nine fire stations and administrative staff of sixteen. The VPSD provides ISO Fire Protection Class 2 services to the public as well as advanced life support care to each medical incident. The VPSD is recognized as a certified technical rescue team by the state of Florida. Last year VPSD responded to over 29,000 calls. The average emergency response time is 4 minutes and 39 seconds. Their ability to quickly respond to emergency incidents resulted in a cardiac survival rate of 40 %, far exceeding the national average.  VPSD also provides public programs, including AED instruction, CPR training, and smoke detector program. The Villages Public Safety Department will continue its growth and development synonymous with the community they serve. They are ready, and with purpose and resolve, to deliver on their mission statement and an unwavering commitment to the public they serve. If you have any questions or would like more information in regard to the public programs offered through The Villages Public Safety Department, you may call 352-205-8280.